http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/298741.html

On Thursday morning, US authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace ordering them to hand over Indymedia web servers to the requesting agency. Rackspace, which provides hosting services for more that 20 Indymedia sites at its London facility, complied and turned over the requested servers, effectively removing those sites from the internet.

Since the subpoena was issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia, the reasons for this action are still unknown to Indymedia. Talking to Indymedia volunteers, Rackspace stated that “they cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order.” ISPs have received gag orders in similar situations which prevent them from updating the concerned parties on what is happening.

It is unclear to Indymedia how and why a server that is outside the US jurisdiction can be seized by US authorities.

At the same time an additional server was taken down at Rackspace which provided streaming radio to several radio stations including one covering the European Social Forum in London, BLAG (linux distro), and a handful of miscellanous things.

The list of affected local media collectives includes Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille (all France), Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, part of the Germany site, and the global Indymedia Radio site.

It is ironic that that this happens now, just days before Indymedia is due to participate in the European Forum on Communications Rights being held alongside the European Social Forum and several other days of discussions about electronic civil liberties and community media. For more information on these events see www.efcr2004.net

The last few months have seen numerous attacks on independent media by the US Federal Government. In August the Secret Service used a subpoena in an attempt to disrupt the NYC IMC before the RNC by trying to get IP logs from an ISP in the US and the Netherlands. Last month the FCC shut down community radio stations around the US. Two weeks ago the FBI requested that Indymedia takes down a post on the Nantes IMC that had a photo of some undercover Swiss police and IMC volunteers in Seattle were visited by the FBI on the same issue. On the other hand, Indymedia and other independent media organisations were successfull with their victories for example against Diebold and the Patroit Act. Today however, the US authorities shut down IMCs around the world.

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‘More Intimidation Than Crime-Busting’ Says IFJ As Police Target Independent Media Network

http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=2734&Language=EN

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, today called for an investigation into the action by police in Britain in co-operation with other agencies that led to the temporary closure

of 21 of the more than 140 Indymedia web sites worldwide.

“We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specialising in independent journalism,” said Aidan White IFJ General Secretary. “The way this has been done smacks more of intimidation of legitimate journalistic inquiry than crime-busting.”

The IFJ believes that the authorities may have abused their powers in carrying out the action, which is said to have been carried out at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.

Yesterday police seized two web server computers in London used by the Indymedia network. The servers were located on the premises of the Rackspace company, which is now not giving out any information.

Initial reports suggested FBI officers themselves had seized the servers. The seizure follows visits by the FBI to Indymedia personnel in the US inquiring about the publication on the French site Indymedia Nantes of photographs of Swiss undercover police photographing protestors. The photographs remain available on other websites.

Indymedia sites, which provide challenging and independent reporting, particularly of political and social justice issues, are open forums where any member of the public can publish their comments.

The IFJ believes the seizure may be linked to a September 30 court case in San Jose California, in which Indymedia San Francisco and two students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania successfully opposed an application by Diebold Election Systems Inc to remove documents claiming to reveal flaws in the design of electronic voting machines which are due to be used widely in the forthcoming US Presidential election.

Although Indymedia UK was back in operation within hours, several of the other 20 sites affected remain silenced today.

“The seizing of computers and the high profile nature of this incident suggests that someone wanted to stifle these independent voices in journalism,” said Aidan White. “We need a full investigation into why this action took place, who took part and who authorised it.”

For further information: +32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries

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To follow, some of the correspondance, relating to all this, cheak out the blog engry at:

http://jebba.blagblagblag.org/index.php?p=107

[ from v interesting blog at: http://jebba.blagblagblag.org]

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